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House Passes Omnibus Spending Bill Along with Problematic NSF Amendment

After two weeks of debate and votes on hundreds of amendments, the House of Representatives has passed an omnibus spending bill for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018, consisting of all twelve spending bills. The omnibus includes the same funding levels for social science research as the Commerce-Justice-Science and Labor-Health and Human Services-Education bills that were passed by the House Appropriations Committee. While the proposed funding levels were moderately good for social and behavioral science research, the House approved an amendment proposed by Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX), the chair of the Science, Space, and Technology Committee, that could be detrimental to the social sciences. The amendment would require that about $30 million (or 0.5 percent) of the Research and Related Activities account at the National Science Foundation (NSF) be used only to support basic research in the biological and physical sciences. NSF currently prioritizes research investments based on the advice of its own experts and scholars and if this amendment became law, it could result in political influence into the NSF research process.

Two other amendments that targeted the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) and the Census Bureau, proposed by Rep. Francis Rooney (R-FL) and Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-VA) respectively, were not taken up for consideration on the floor and therefore did not pass.

The spending package has little chance of passing the Senate, but President Trump has already signed a short-term budget measure to keep the government open at current funding levels through December 8, giving Congress more time to come up with a deal for the rest of FY 2018. Read COSSA’s full coverage of the FY 2018 spending debate here.

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Posted in Issue 18 (September 19), Update, Volume 36 (2017)

Senate Labor-HHS-Education Bill Approved by Committee

On September 7, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved its fiscal year (FY) 2018 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS) Appropriations Bill; the Labor-HHS Subcommittee advanced the bill on September 5. This bill contains annual funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Department of Education (ED), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), and Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), among other federal departments and agencies. The House Appropriations Committee passed its version of the bill on July 19; the bill recently passed the House as part of a 12-bill omnibus (see related article).

The next step for the bill is consideration by the full Senate. However, Congress recently struck a deal with the White House on a continuing resolution (CR) to keep the government funded into next fiscal year (which begins October 1) through December 8. This is intended to provide additional time for lawmakers to come to agreement on overall budget levels, including the spending caps that are currently casting a major shadow on the FY 2018 appropriations bills; the bills have been written to exceed the caps currently set in law, signaling that a budget deal could be negotiated in the weeks ahead.

Read on for COSSA’s analysis of the Senate Appropriations Committee’s proposals for the National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and Department of Education.

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Posted in Issue 18 (September 19), Update, Volume 36 (2017)

COSSA Senate Testimony Calls for Funding for NIH, AHRQ, CDC, Education Programs

On June 2, COSSA submitted testimony to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies for fiscal year (FY) 2018. The testimony calls for increased funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), Institute for Education Sciences (IES), and International Education and Foreign Language Programs (Title VI and Fulbright-Hays).

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Posted in Issue 12 (June 13), Update, Volume 36 (2017)

Funding Opportunity Announcements

  • IES: Education Research Grants (FY 2018) (CFDA 84.305A)
  • IES: Partnerships and Collaborations Focused on Problems of Practice or Policy (FY 2018) (CFDA 84.305H)
  • IES: Low-Cost, Short-Duration Evaluation of Education Interventions (FY 2018) (CFDA 84.305L)
  • IES: Special Education Research Grants (FY 2018) (CFDA 84.324A)
  • IES: Research Training Programs in Special Education (FY 2018) (CFDA 84.324B)
  • IES: Low-Cost, Short-Duration Evaluation of Special Education Interventions (FY 2018) (CFDA 84.324L)
  • IES: Research Networks Focused on Critical Problems of Education Policy and Practice in Special Education (FY 2018) (CFDA 84.324N)

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Posted in Issue 12 (June 13), Update, Volume 36 (2017)

COSSA Testimony Calls for Funding for NIH, AHRQ, CDC, Education Programs

On March 8, COSSA submitted testimony to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies for fiscal year (FY) 2018. The testimony calls for increased funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), Institute for Education Sciences (IES), and International Education and Foreign Language Programs (Title VI and Fulbright-Hays).

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Posted in Issue 6 (March 21), Update, Volume 36 (2017)

IES Coalition Sends Letter to Appropriations Subcommittee Leadership in Support of Agency

On March 10, COSSA joined the Friends of the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), a coalition of organizations committed to supporting the essential role of IES, on a letter to the Labor, Health, and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee (Labor-HHS) in support of IES. The letter urges the Subcommittee to provide $670 million in funding for IES in fiscal year (FY) 2018. The letter also states that the request, consistent with other scientific coalitions, “builds on the FY 2016 final appropriations, accounting for inflation over the past two years as well as four-percent growth.”

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Posted in Issue 6 (March 21), Update, Volume 36 (2017)

House Labor-HHS Appropriations Subcommittee Holds Hearing on Lawmakers’ Priorities

Reviving the Appropriations Committee’s tradition of holding hearings to allow members of Congress to testify on their priorities within a subcommittee’s jurisdiction, on March 1, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS) heard testimony from Members of Congress on their priorities for fiscal year (FY) 2018. Throughout the course of the hearing, Subcommittee Chairman Tom Cole (R-OK) and Ranking Member Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) continually urged members to “continue to advocate for their priorities.” Otherwise, Cole cautioned, the Subcommittee would have to “live within the allocation” it is given by the budget committee. If the Subcommittee has to adjust to an $18 to $20 billion reduction in its allocation as a result of $54 billion increase in funding allotted to fund the Department of Defense under the President’s proposed FY 2018 budget (see related article), “no part of this budget can escape unscathed,” Cole declared. (more…)

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Posted in Issue 6 (March 21), Update, Volume 36 (2017)

COSSA and Coalitions Urge Strong Funding for SBS in Final FY 2017 Funding Negotiations

In preparation for Congress’ return to Washington after the election, several of the coalitions COSSA works through have sent letters to appropriators urging them to pass funding bills rather than a continuing resolution (CR) to fund the government for the remainder of fiscal year (FY) 2017 and to encourage them to preserve funding for the agencies that support social and behavioral science (SBS), including the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (Senate letter, House letter), the National Center for Health Statistics (Senate letter, House letter), the Census Bureau (Senate letter, House letter), and the Institute of Education Sciences.

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Posted in Issue 21 (November 1), Update, Volume 35 (2016)

IES Seeks Comments on NCER-NPSAS Grants

The National Center for Education Research (NCER) within the Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES) is proposing a new information collection as part of an ongoing collaboration between NCER and the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)—also located within IES—and is seeking comments. The NCER supports research projects using subsamples of the National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS), a nationally-representative sample of postsecondary institutions and students fielded every three to four years. The goal for the proposed new collection is to facilitate “one-off” research projects. The Department is specifically interested in comments addressing the following questions: “(1) Is this collection necessary to the proper functions of the Department; (2) Will this information be processed and used in a timely manner; (3) Is the estimated burden accurate; (4) How might the Department enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (5) How might the Department minimize the burden of this collection on respondents, including through the use of information technology.” Comments are due December 19, 2016.

Additionally, NCER is seeking comments on the collection of data to conduct the study Connecting Students 2017: Testing the Effectiveness of FAFSA Intervention on College Outcomes, which is designed to “measure the effectiveness of an intervention that will provide financial aid information and reminders to college students who were initially interviewed as part of NPSAS.” Comments are due December 19, 2016.

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Posted in Issue 21 (November 1), Update, Volume 35 (2016)

Congress Returns with Much Left Undone

Congress returns to work this week for one more stretch before the November elections. This will be the final work period before the current fiscal year (FY 2016) expires on September 30. That means some type of action is needed in the coming weeks to keep the federal government funded and operating come October 1. See COSSA’s analysis of the state of play of FY 2017 Appropriations bills for full details.

In addition to action on the annual spending bills (which will undoubtedly result in a continuing resolution punting final action to after the election), Congress will be looking to enact funding for the Zika crisis and a handful of other pressing issues over the next few weeks; these efforts will consume every available minute between now and the next recess. That means the 114th Congress is likely to adjourn at the end of the year with several bills impacting the social and behavioral sciences left on the table. This includes a number of authorization bills of consequence to the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, and Institute of Education Sciences. COSSA summarizes the State of Play of Authorization Bills in an analysis released last month.

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Posted in Issue 17 (September 6), Update, Volume 35 (2016)

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